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Is this the begining of difficulty for the RV Industry?


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Keystone plans to close two Goshen plants

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In the letter, Runels also included the expected number of employees affected, up to 334 potential employees, adding that “a small number of employees may be retained to support other operations or production facilities.”

According to the letter, a total of 183 people will be affected by the closure at Plant 41, and 151 by Plant 705.

South Bend Tribune

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At the retail level, there’s more evidence of a slowdown — at least compared to the blistering pace that was set in the immediate aftermath of the beginning of the pandemic when consumers sought out RVs, boats and other types of outdoor recreational that were deemed safer than other activities. 

Even though RV shipments have remained relatively strong through the first half, retail registrations of RVs already have begun to slide, dropping 23.5% through May compared to the first five months of 2021 in the United States and Canada, according to Grand Rapids-based Statistical Surveys Inc. 

 

Edited by Kirk W
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What I don't think is addressed in either of the articles is that the used RV market was just as hot as the used car market. Used RVs (at least in our area) were snapped up as fast as they became available. And based on some FB groups I am in there were a whole of people getting them to live in. On the new side the RV industry has been hit with supply chain issues and to a lesser degree chip supply issues the same as the auto industry. RV parks are full and last, interest rates are going up. It is all conspiring as a cool down just like the housing market is starting to cool.

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I’ve noticed a lot of used Covid year models for sale on the internet. Like people got them during Covid, went for a few trips then no more. Plus it seemed like a huge number of issues people were having with quality. This is all anecdotal but I believe there’s some validity to my observations.

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A perfect day for the RV industry turned into the perfect storm two years later.   Very low fuel prices, Remote working and learning with low interest rates and stimulus checks for a down payment made it possible and easy for many families to get out and travel.

 

Two years later all that changed.  High fuel prices, higher interest rates, getting called back to the office and classroom and inflation with a possible recession. 

 

I predict there will be more RV loan defaults just like there are with auto loans.  Since the value of the auto/RV has dropped considerably borrowers will walk away leaving the bank holding the assets.   Just like the housing markets in the mid 2000's

 

How this will affect RV park density levels is what I'm wondering.   The RV parks will need to raise rates to offset the rising overhead costs but will the consumer pay it or stay home.

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1 hour ago, VC 23RSS said:

I predict there will be more RV loan defaults just like there are with auto loans. 

I searched via Google and could find nothing to indicate that auto loan defaults are increasing but most of what I did find was at least several months old. Would you share your source?

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On 7/31/2022 at 9:38 AM, Chalkie said:

And based on some FB groups I am in there were a whole of people getting them to live in.

Our town of Rockport TX has a very high percentage of residents living permanently in RV's and this isn't atypical from what I can see around here. There is a serious shortage of housing and rents for nice apartments are >$1500/mo which prices out lots of folks.  The use of RVs as permanent housing is an issue I rarely see addressed in the press.

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I see a time in the future, possibly soon, when very nice, slightly used rv's can be picked up for cheap.  Having ready cash might be a good idea if one is wanting to upgrade.

But what will you get for your old unit?  If you save enough on the upgrade, it doesn't matter as much.  To use round numbers for an example, If you saved 50% on a $150k unit, and had to sell your old $75k unit for a 50% hit, you're still ahead of the game.

Edited by rickeieio
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3 hours ago, docj said:

Our town of Rockport TX has a very high percentage of residents living permanently in RV's and this isn't atypical from what I can see around here. There is a serious shortage of housing and rents for nice apartments are >$1500/mo which prices out lots of folks.  The use of RVs as permanent housing is an issue I rarely see addressed in the press.

There are several full time in here at Brazoria Lake. Tx. One directly beside us has a residential hot water heater on the ground. Dead give a way

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14 minutes ago, VC 23RSS said:

There's a few on google. 

I looked at that story and it doesn't list any dates but it references an NBC article that was published on June 4. While it probably is the case, it is pretty difficult to pin down the data. The same is true for mortage defaults. If you go back a few months the same sort or predictions are there. I tend to suspect that both are true, but still have not found any hard evidence that it is happening. I would think that people would be more likely to default on an RV loan that either an auto loan or a mortgage, but am still looking for evidence to suport my suspicions. Pretty much all of our contacts inside of the lending industry have now retired as we have.  

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10 minutes ago, Kirk W said:

I looked at that story and it doesn't list any dates but it references an NBC article that was published on June 4. While it probably is the case, it is pretty difficult to pin down the data. The same is true for mortage defaults. If you go back a few months the same sort or predictions are there. I tend to suspect that both are true, but still have not found any hard evidence that it is happening. I would think that people would be more likely to default on an RV loan that either an auto loan or a mortgage, but am still looking for evidence to suport my suspicions. Pretty much all of our contacts inside of the lending industry have now retired as we have.  

I read where Tesla is calling it's employees back to the offices.  Closer to home my younger sister got called away from her home office to go back and she just retired.  Youngest sister is an engineer for a major router company and she's still able to work remotely but must make regular trips to Taiwan and India.  Both recently bought new Class Bs.  My purchase last year as well as my two sisters wasn't Covid related but more of it being the right time in our lives.

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7 hours ago, docj said:

Our town of Rockport TX has a very high percentage of residents living permanently in RV's and this isn't atypical from what I can see around here. There is a serious shortage of housing and rents for nice apartments are >$1500/mo which prices out lots of folks.  The use of RVs as permanent housing is an issue I rarely see addressed in the press.

We're in an RV park northwest of Austin (Cedar Park, TX) and I would guess out of the 96 spaces all but 10 of so are long term with many not even having a vehicle that could move their RV. I have suggested to my granddaughter that they look into it since she and her significant other are paying $2000/mo for a 2 bedroom 1 bath appt on the second floor. The rent goes up if you are on the third floor (the view) or the ground floor (convenience). Rents around here have skyrocketed, even ours to some extent, and if we weren't so close to our medical and shopping would almost consider moving. But to where?

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15 hours ago, Chalkie said:

Rents around here have skyrocketed, even ours to some extent, and if we weren't so close to our medical and shopping would almost consider moving. But to where?

Here in Rockport there are enough RV sites to keep the prices down.  But with apartment rentals going up, the RV site prices will surely follow.  We're glad we own the site we have.   

As for medical and such, we have good docs for our basic needs; when something more is needed we drive to Houston which is less than 3 hours away.  Not a perfect solution, but we've made it work.

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IMO there will be a slowdown, even with falling fuel prices, due to inflation. I do not think the RV industry will be caught off-guard as it was several years ago. The RV industry economists are now more heavily involved today and are already sending signals they are slowing production schedules accordingly.

The pandemic has changed the face of doing business forever, and management is adjusting to  a different business model.

I do think the height of the 40+' diesel pusher market is passing into history now, and with it the birth of the smaller MH's as seen in Europe. My reasoning is the increasing population and finite public resources. The change from traveling without a reservation to our present state helped form my opinions.

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11 minutes ago, Ray,IN said:

I do think the height of the 40+' diesel pusher market is passing into history now, and with it the birth of the smaller MH's as seen in Europe. My reasoning is the increasing population and finite public resources. The change from traveling without a reservation to our present state helped form my opinions.

I agree but there's still a considerable resale market for the ~10-20 year old "relics" of that period.  Considering that it's impossible to get a 40' DP with a >12 liter engine at virtually any price, let alone less than half a million $$, buying an old one for $50-100k seems like a bargain even when you factor in remodeling costs.

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This seems to be a common theme I’m seeing on the internet. Copy and paste.

 

“We have a 2018 Montana 3931FB Legacy. We were toying with the idea of downsizing to a smaller 5th wheel or travel trailer. We mainly use our rig for weekend trips and a couple of week long trip each year.  I was amazed how bad the construction was on the new units. We looked a 6 or 7 new models and there was not a single one that looked good.  All had some obvious problems. I was also amazed the price they were asking for these horribly constructed units.  

Needless to say we have decided to keep our Montana and continue enjoying it.”

 

 

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Plant 41 is associated with Keystone’s Laredo 5th Wheel trailer line, which appears to be discontinued as of April this year. I would assume that Plant 705 is also associated with the Laredo line. Both plants being shutdown and closed for a now-discontinued trailer brand is no different than Ford or Chevy closing plants for their discontinued car models and laying off those workers.

I would believe that the plant closings are more in-line with the trailer being discontinued than recent sales/expectations.

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From RVIA.org published July 1.

Latest RV Shipment Forecast Shows 2022 Expected To Be Second Best Year On Record

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The new forecast projects 2022 RV shipments to range between 537,800 and 561,900 units with a most likely year-end total of 549,900 units, an (-8.4%) decline from the 600,240 shipped in 2021. Despite the headwinds of high inflation, rising interest rates, high prices at the pump, and waning macroeconomic momentum, the forecast shows income is trending well above the long-term trend as workers enjoy an advantage in the exceptionally tight labor market, which bodes well for shipments. Income trends, prior savings, and low debt-to-income ratios for consumers are all positives as the RV industry heads into the summer months.

From RV-travel published July 9

RV inventories up, prices dropping. Trouble for dealers?

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The Wall Street Journal story quoted Raymond James analyst Joseph Altobello saying the RV industry would be “hard-pressed to complete a soft-landing.” Altobello went so far as to say that the oversupply on dealer lots will likely bring a high degree of discounting.

The Truist survey also said more than a quarter of RV dealers said they were “too heavy” on inventory at their stores—the highest reading in four years.

Seems that so far it all just depends on who you ask and maybe where their interests lie? A month ago I was talking with the owner of the dealership where we bought our current RV (in Athens, TX) and he indicated that while his inventory is up, his sales are nearly steady as he lost sales last year due to the lack of inventory. 

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43 minutes ago, Kirk W said:

I was talking with the owner of the dealership where we bought our current RV (in Athens, TX) and he indicated that while his inventory is up...

In our area, RV dealership inventory is obviously up compared to not that long ago. However; if you are considering buying a towable and do not already have a tow vehicle, that may present a real challenge. Our local Ford, Chevy and Dodge dealers have virtually no new pickups or SUVs and only a few used vehicles on the lots. A Salesman I know at the Chevy dealership said that he is selling vehicles that the dealership ordered for inventory even before they have a delivery date. I would think at some point new RV purchasers are going to hesitate to buy a towable and then have it sit because they cannot move it.

Edited by trailertraveler
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40 minutes ago, trailertraveler said:

In our area, RV dealership inventory is obviously up compared to not that long ago. However; if you are considering buying a towable and do not already have a tow vehicle, that may present a real challenge. Our local Ford, Chevy and Dodge dealers have virtually no new pickups or SUVs and only a few used vehicles on the lots. A Salesman I know at the Chevy dealership said that he is selling vehicles that the dealership ordered for inventory even before they have a delivery date. I would think at some point new RV purchasers are going to hesitate to buy a towable and then have it sit because they cannot move it.

I hadn't noticed that. But not in the market for one either so not looking. But I am going to start. 

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, trailertraveler said:

A Salesman I know at the Chevy dealership said that he is selling vehicles that the dealership ordered for inventory even before they have a delivery date.

That fits with what our son experienced. He ordered a new, F350 from a KY dealership back in early February 2021, with an expected delivery date of July 15, 2021. He actually received it on September 13 2021 and the dealer sales manager offered to refund the previously paid deposit in full and add an extra $1000 if he would walk away and not buy the truck so that they could put it up for sale again. 

Edited by Kirk W
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18 hours ago, docj said:

I agree but there's still a considerable resale market for the ~10-20 year old "relics" of that period.  Considering that it's impossible to get a 40' DP with a >12 liter engine at virtually any price, let alone less than half a million $$, buying an old one for $50-100k seems like a bargain even when you factor in remodeling costs.

I agree with your used MH assessment. Perhaps the foremost example is the number of people buying old Bluebird MH's, taking them to the factory and ordering an updating of the chassis and total remodeling of the coach.

They get back a like-new MH while paying taxes on one built in the 20th century.

 

Kirk, a cousin retired from GM/Allison, last year his son ordered a fully-loaded CC GMC Duramax K350 SRW, 4x4. The employee price, $86,000. It took 6 months after the order for delivery last Dec.

 

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